I don't get it.
I just don't get it. Sure, the Pirates are a better team than they have been in the last couple of years, although you wouldn't have known it from their five-game losing streak coming into this game.
But just as the Cubs dominated the Pirates for the last three seasons (32-15 from 2007-2009 and 24-8 from 2008-2009), the Pirates have done the same to the Cubs this year, winning their sixth in seven meetings today, 2-1 over a punchless Cubs lineup that had only four hits and three walks, but somehow managed to leave eight men on base.
Does this sound familiar? Sadly, yes, it does.
I don't get Randy Wells, either. Only three days after throwing 16 pitches and retiring zero of six hitters in the worst start of his career, he threw five solid innings today and allowed just three singles and three walks. I was thinking Lou pulled him too early, but at 90 pitches it was probably time. Wells has had two absolutely horrific starts this year, but the rest have been decent-to-excellent. What does this mean? A lack of focus?
Unfortunately, Wells' relief, James Russell gave up a game-tying homer to Garrett Jones on the third pitch he threw.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Wait, no, don't. Bob Howry actually came in and threw a good 1-2-3 inning. No, I'm not making that up. Howry's ERA in 3.2 Cubs innings is zero. Go figure.
And then the Cubs reliever who has been as solid as anyone in the league in a setup role -- Sean Marshall -- gave up the winning run on a RBI single by Bobby Crosby, who came into the game 2-for-8 as a pinch-hitter.
You can't make this stuff up. You wouldn't want to make this stuff up.
Andrew Cashner made his major league debut (for those of us who care about these things, wearing #48), but we can't really draw any conclusions from it, because he threw exactly one pitch and got Ronny Cedeno to pop up to end the eighth inning.
I really just don't get this. But then again, I don't get the whole National League this year. Consider this: on April 29 the Braves lost to the Cardinals, their ninth loss in a row, and were 8-14. Since then they have gone 21-8 and today beat the Phillies (who have lost seven of their last nine and scored a total of ten runs in the nine games) to take over first place in the NL East. Who would have expected either of those things to occur just a couple of weeks ago?
The Cubs look bad. There are still adjustments to be made -- glad to see Lou start Mike Fontenot at 2B today, and let that continue (at least platooning him). The future is in the major leagues with Cashner, Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro. Maybe this team has a Braves-like run in them. A new month starts tomorrow. We can still hope.
Until then, you've got more than 24 hours till the next game to ruminate about how the Cubs keep losing games like this.
Finally... I have no problem with honoring veterans with patriotic caps on holidays. I do have a problem with caps as ugly as the ones the Cubs (and a lot of other teams) wore today. Who on Earth decided that the Cubs -- whose biggest rivals wear red -- should have a white cap with a red bill? Some teams (Yankees, Indians among them) got to wear white caps with blue bills. Those are still ugly, but at least they'd have been closer to the Cubs' color scheme. If MLB wants to do this next year, at least design an attractive cap.